A cross-party group of one hundred MPs and former MPs are calling on their £612 million pension fund to remove its investments in fossil fuels, as Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn and Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell become the 99th and 100th MPs to sign the Divest Parliament pledge.
From 50 pledges in May, MP support for the campaign has doubled in just over half a year.
First signed and championed by Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion and Green Party Co-Leader in 2016, other recent signees of the Divest Parliament pledge include Labour MPs Rebecca Long-Bailey, David Lammy and Harriet Harman, Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith, Liberal Democrat MP Norman Lamb and SNP MP Ian Blackford.
Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the Labour Party and MP for Islington North said:
“Two years on from the historic Paris Agreement, our country must show leadership in confronting the existential threat posed by climate change. One contribution we can make as MPs is to end the investment from our pension fund in fossil fuel industries, which is why I have signed the pledge. To help protect our planet, we must wean our economy off its fossil fuel dependence and do more to move towards clean and renewable energy.”
Caroline Lucas, Green Party MP for Brighton Pavilion said:
“Preventing catastrophic and irreversible climate change means leaving the vast majority of fossil fuels in the ground. By divesting our own pension fund from fossil fuels, MPs can come together to demonstrate to the public that we are committed to a just transition towards a low-carbon economy. It’s utterly unacceptable that the Parliamentary Pension Fund remains so opaque, and that MPs’ savings continue to fuel climate chaos. We need real transparency, and an ethical policy which ensures that our investments do not cause harm for the sake of short term profit.”
Zac Goldsmith, Conservative MP for Richmond Park said:
“I am proud of the role played by the government in shaping the historic Paris Agreement. But Paris was just the beginning. Shifting the investments of the MP pension fund to align it with the agreement would not only be financially prudent, it would send a powerful signal.”
David Lammy, Labour MP for Tottenham:
“After a summer of devastating hurricanes, floods and droughts, the consequences of failing to uphold the Paris Agreement have never been more apparent. It is our responsibility as MPs to take our commitments to our planet and to future generations seriously – if we are going to call for action on climate change on the floor of the House of Commons then we must lead by example and put our money where our mouths are by divesting our own pension fund and hope that others will join us in doing so.”
Ian Blackford, SNP Leader at Westminster said:
“I want Scotland to continue to build a prosperous, low-carbon economy. We have already exceeded our world-leading climate change goals and our renewable energy targets too, but we must remain ambitious for the future and can always go further. It is important that our investment decisions support this ambition.”
Norman Lamb, Liberal Democrat MP for North Norfolk said:
“I strongly support the call for MPs’ pension fund to divest from fossil fuels. Climate change is one of the biggest global threats we face, and we should do everything in our power to achieve a zero carbon economy by 2050. Moving away from coal, oil and gas and investing in renewable energy is good for the planet, but it is also vital to protect our economy from the risks of investing in companies whose value is tied to assets incompatible with our climate obligations. As the effects of climate change become ever clearer, this move makes environmental and financial sense.”
Chuka Umunna, Labour MP for Streatham said:
“The investment policies of the Parliamentary Contributory Pension Fund should be guided by the interests and values of scheme members. The schemes refusal to disclose how much of the fund is being invested in fossil fuel companies is wrong. We should be taking advantage of the international cooperation demonstrated by the Paris Agreement to drive forward low-carbon investment in the UK.”
Patrick Killoran from the Divest Parliament campaign said:
“Like the rest of my generation, I’m deeply concerned about the impacts of climate change here and around the world. It’s great to see MPs listening to their constituents and showing political leadership on climate action. Investing in companies such as BP and Shell, who continue to dig for more fossil fuels and lobby against climate policy to line executives’ pockets, is dangerous and wrong. I hope more MPs will join those committing to Divest Parliament today, and prioritise concrete action to build a clean, fair energy system for all.”